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Rolling Stone SA celebrates its first anniversary

Music, culture and current affairs magazine Rolling Stone is celebrating a year in South Africa this week. In celebration, the magazine Stone is hosting a night to remember at The Assembly on 24 November, 2012, with a great line-up of artists, including Arno Carstens, Goodnight Wembley!, The Dollfins and Tailor. Tickets are available at the door.
"People told us we were crazy," said Miles Keylock, editor of Rolling Stone South Africa, who is very much a believer in the decision to bring music's most iconic magazine title to South Africa.

"As Rolling Stone founder, Jann S Wenner sagely advised us: 'Print is not dead. You surf the Internet - print you dive into.' So we took a leap of faith and took the plunge."

A country with such a rich musical history and pop culture such as SA deserves a publication to document its evolution - this is the foundation and the ethos of the Rolling Stone approach and, over the past year, Rolling Stone has rewritten the rules on reporting about South African music.

We gave respect to the ultimate SA rock 'n' roller, Bra Hugh Masekela's lust for life and acoustic soul sensation Zahara her first cover. Legendary lensman the late Bra Alf Kumalo was coaxed out of retirement to capture the Eastern Cape sensation - it turned out to be his last major shoot.

Die Antwoord offered their first-ever in-depth interview and the world saw the future sound of Mzansi in Spoek Mathambo. The BLK JKS' cathartic interview saved them from breaking up and we reminded everyone why Arno Carstens remains SA's rock god and is still rolling strong.

Mistakes and hard lessons

Sure, we made mistakes. We learned hard lessons about how to play the game. We realised the South African music industry is still in its infancy and that it needs convincing of its own potential.

We didn't lose our minds when the "market sense" demanded we play it safe. "It's time to represent!" we explained. We refused to dumb content down. We remained committed to publishing long form features, in-depth, up-close-and-personal interviews and artist profiles - beautifully crafted and photographed. We kept rolling.

We stopped trying to be everything to everyone. Musicians clamoured to be on the cover. From readers, we received letters of support (Hugh), love (Miriam) and light (Spoek) and of outrage (Idols). We kept on rolling.

Has it been worth it? "Hell yes!" said publisher Mohammed Khan. "Thanks to the support of artists, readers, writers, photographers, advertisers, creative partners and supporters, we have reached this important one-year milestone. None of this would have been possible without them."

We are also hosting a series of summer poolside get-togethers at Cape Town's Protea Fire and Ice! Hotel every Thursday until February 2013."

Looking ahead, 2013 will expand the Rolling Stone mission in South Africa. A full programme of events will accompany the monthly magazine, with a view to continuing our support for South African music, its artists and their stories. Rolling Stone wants to tell our collective stories. We hope our readers continue to ask for more.